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Louisville’s first forest nursery school opens

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – At Swallowtail Forest Preschool located in the Louisville Nature Center, the forest is the classroom. The school welcomed preschoolers for the first time on Monday.

“It’s very kid-led, so whatever they care about teachers will follow,” said Rebecca Minnick, executive director of the Louisville Nature Center.

Swallowtail Forest School is the first of its kind in the Louisville urban area. Minnick said the concept of a forestry school is relatively new to the United States. Students enrolled in Swallowtail will learn outdoors year round, even in the rain or snow. Preschoolers can explore nature at their own pace and choose their activity, whether it’s going for a hike or playing in the natural play area which includes a gravel pit, dirt kitchen, game log drums, built-in tree library, etc.

“There’s so much research that has been done (saying) that time spent in nature, especially unstructured time in nature, is really beneficial for kids,” Minnick said. “It helps their socio-emotional development, encourages creativity and helps children learn to take risks and assess risks. “

According to Minnick, parents said they were grateful for the school for providing them with a safe place to send their children during the pandemic. Minnick told WAVE 3 News that staff expect outdoor learning to have a positive impact on students.

“It never gets old to see kids discovering things, to see this excitement,” Minnick said, “but we’re excited about this school because now we will be able to see the kids everyday and see how they grow up over the course of the year. “

Swallowtail Forest School teaches 10 children at a time, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The school is currently full. To reserve a place on the waiting list, click on here.

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